Engineering a solution
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The decision of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to allow private corporations, with turnover of Rs 100 crore a year for the past three years, to set up and run degree- granting colleges is welcome. Companies are often critical of the quality of graduates produced by engineering colleges, deeming them unemployable, despite chronic shortages of skilled manpower. Enabling them to participate in equipping young people with skills that are necessary and useful in the job market could go some way towards expanding access to higher education while hopefully ensuring a base level of quality.
The drive towards universalisation of primary education through the RTE and the push to expand secondary school education means that more and more young people are eligible for, and aspiring towards, college-level instruction. Despite a huge increase in the number of universities and colleges, however, their higher educational needs remain sadly underserved. A 2011 FICCI and Ernst and Young report found that most higher education institutions, public and private, had poor physical infrastructure, suffered from faculty shortages and had outdated curricula — 62 per cent universities and 90 per cent colleges with NAAC accreditation were rated average or below average.
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